Why I Decided to Write This Ebook
I decided to write this ebook for three reasons.
The first reason is I was absolutely stunned at how easy it is for someone to file a complaint and have your site taken offline – even when you’ve done nothing wrong, as my story will detail. So I guess I needed to digest the situation and make sense of it. Writing does that for me.
The second reason is, as a freelance writer, I make my living completely online. So when my websites are down, my income basically comes to halt. I know a lot of other online entrepreneurs are in this situation as well.
Hence, I want to share my story so that others who make a living on the web can become more aware of how to avoid this situation altogether. And, if that’s not possible and someone does file one of these notices (copyright infringement) against you/your site, you can have an immediate plan of action to refer to so you don’t feel so helpless, which is how I felt.
The third and final reason I wanted to write this ebook is that content theft/libel/slander and plagiarism are going to happen a lot more as more and more people start to do business online. Proof?
Read Plagiarism and Stolen Content: A Growing Web Problem at http://bit.ly/g3kv0N.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot out there about what to do if a copyright violation notice is UNJUSTLY filed falsely against you. There’s tons on what to do if someone steals your work (ie, if you file a copyright notice JUSTLY AGAINST someone, like Ruth, the co-author of this book did).
But if you’re on the other side of the coin like I was, the amount of info on the web about what you can do is paltry in comparison. And yet, YOU will be the one penalized. YOUR site will be the one offline until it is all resolved.
And, this is what immoral people count on. They continue to profit while you're left fighting to get your site(s) back online.
Now that you know my reasons, following is an explanation of exactly what a copyright violation notice is, my story and what you can do if this happens to you (here’s hoping that it never does).
Yuwanda Black, Publisher/Author
Following is a complete Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS
About the Authors, Page 2
Introduction, Page 2 RUTH’S STORY: Page 8
In the Beginning: A Little about Me, Page 8
My Terrible Encounter with MSIBA.ORG, Page 8
The Inkwell Editorial Ebook Writing Tournament, Page 13
What Goes Around Comes Around, Page 14
How to Track Your Work Online, Page 16
Why You Should Have a Copyright Notice on Your Website, Page 16
Google Alerts, Page 17
Copyscape, Page 17
What to Do When Someone Steals Your Content, Page 18
How to Find Out Who Owns a Specific Website: How to Do a WHOIS Search, Page 20
How to Understand WHOIS Information, Page 20
What Is a DMCA Notice and How to Submit One, Page 21
What Happens after You File a Copyright Infringement Notice (DMCA Notice), Page 23
Lessons I’ve Learned, Page 25
It’s Not All Bad News, Page 25
YUWANDA’S STORY: Page 27
Why I Decided to Write This Ebook, Page 27
Copyright Infringement Defined, 28
Why You Don’t Need to File Papers to Protect Your Copyright, Page 28
Why Many Who File Copyright Infringement Notices Do So Wrongly, Page 29
How Easy It Is for Someone to Get Your Site Taken Offline, Page 30
My Copyright Violation Saga: How It All Began, Page 30
Fraudulent Copyright Violation Notice Filed, Page 72
Account Deactivation Notice Received from Bluehost.com on 11/3/2010, Page 72
How Many of Your Sites Can be Affected by One Hosting Account Being Disabled, Page 74
How My Sites Were Kept Offline for Almost Two Weeks, Page 75
Counter Infringement Notice I Filled Out & Sent to Bluehost, Page 76
What Bluehost Customer Service Rep Told Me After I Filed a Counter Notice, Page 78
The Hunt for a New Web Hosting Company, Page 81
Why & How I Chose a New Host Company -- HostGator, Page 83
How I “Met” Ruth, My Co-Author, Page 84
Taking Action: What You Can Do If a False Copyright Infringement Notice is Filed Against You, Page 87
How to File a Copyright Infringement Notice: Actual Notice I Filed, Page 87
How to Find Out Which Company a Website is Hosted With, Page 90
How Web Hosting Companies Respond to Copyright Infringement Notices, Page 91
Immediate Suspension/Takedown of Site: Web Hosting Company Policies, Page 91
What Is the DMCA?, Page 91
The Way It’s “Supposed” to Work: Host Company Rules for Taking Down a Site, Page 91
Host Company that Gives Notification before Suspending/Taking Down a Site, Page 92
How HostGator Handled It When a Copyright Infringement Notice Was Filed Against My Site, Page 92
How to Find Out a Host Company’s Takedown Policy before Signing Up with Them, Page 94
When a Host Company is Required -- by Law -- to Take Your Site Down, Page 95
Things to Consider if a Copyright Infringement Notice Is Filed Against You, Page 97
Does the Filer’s Claim Have Merit, Page 97
File a Counter Notice Immediately, Page 97
How to Decide Whether or Not to Remove Content, Page 98
File a Civil Suit, Page 99
You are Not Helpless, Page 100
Lessons I’ve Learned, Page 101
How to Check a Web Hosting Company’s Takedown Policy before Signing Up, Page 101
Back Up Your Hard Drive, Page 101
Use More Than One Host Company, Page 102
Check Your Websites Daily, Page 103
Use Multiple Email Addresses, Page 103
Use an Email List Management Service, Page 104
Cease Corresponding with the Other Party, Page 104
Save All Correspondence, Page 104
Don’t be Bullied, Page 104
Reach Out for Help, 105
Maintain Your Dignity, Page 105
Acknowledgements, Page 105
Why Freelance Writers (and Other Content Producers) Must Learn How to Protect Their Copyright, Page 108
VISIT THE AUTHORS ONLINE, Page 109